All my movie reviews will have spoilers of some sort, so if you haven't seen the movie in question and don't want me to give away the ending...don't read it. My ranking system is pretty straight-forward, I think, giving each movie a possible score out of 50, and using a grading system that's pretty standard for British Columbia. Also, this isn't about movies that specifically come out in 2011, but movies that I watch throughout the year. Okay, let's dig in!
SCORE: 41/50 (82%)
WATCHED: February 3, 2011
This 2006 South Korean monster movie revolves around an unremarkable family thrust into the middle of extraordinary events: the polluted Han River has birthed this mutant monster that is now out of control. Hyun-Seo (Ko Ah-seong) is kidnapped by the monster, so her father, Park Gang-du (Song Kang-ho), grandfather (Hee-bong, played by Byeon Hee-bong), aunt (Nam-joo, played by Bae Doona), and uncle (Nam-il, played by Park Hae-il)), set out to evade the military and rescue her from the sewers below the Wonhyo Bridge.
BABYFACES: As stated, our heroes are all pretty underwhelming characters at the start. Park Gang-du is a midly narcoleptic, underacheiver who co-owns a snack bar with his father; Nam-joo is a competitive archer who doesn't have the dedication to truly be the best in the world; Nam-il is a former activist who is now mostly a whiny alcoholic. These are the people that somehow find the ways and means to try and save Hyun-Seo from the monster that's taken over the Han River...when the chips are down, they somehow come through. SCORE: 7.5/10
HEELS: The monster is great; a crazy frog/fish combo that has a mouth that's somewhere between Alien and Predator. Totally crazy-looking, and it digests humans whole and pukes up their bones afterwards. SCORE: 8.5/10
PSYCHOLOGY: This movie progresses nicely. We get some info as to how this monster came to be (a shitload of formaldehyde ended up in the river because of an asshole AMERICAN doctor visiting Korea), and then the monster eventually reaks havoc. Then our heroes have to escape military quarantine, find some weapons, and hunt down the monster. Meanwhile, poor little Hyun-Seo is desperately trying to survive in the sewer and evade a hungry beast. SCORE: 8/10
SPOTS: This film blends a lot of comedy into things, as our heroes are bumbling goofballs for much of it. And there are numerous times the monster is on the loose, eating people and puking up their remains. Plus the interactions between Hyun-Seo and the monster were very gripping. SCORE: 8/10
FINISH: After it looks like everything is lost, our heroes regroup for one final showdown with the monster. After dousing the beast with gasoline, Nam-il goes to toss his final Molotov cocktail...only to drop it as he rears back, and it harmlessly falls at his feet. However, Nam-joo lights an arrow and finds her nerve, hitting the monster dead-on and the creature burts into flames. Meanwhile, Park Gang-du uses a signpole to pin the monster and keep it from reaching the safety of the river. A crazy scene, but totally dramatic. SCORE: 9/10
BOOBS: Sorry, no boobs. This films all about the dangers of pollution, after all. BONUS POINTS: 0/10
The Machine Girl
SCORE: 35/50 (70%)
WATCHED: June 9, 2011
Ami is a sweet little college girl, who cares for her high school brother (Yu) after her parents committed suicide to avoid unjust murder charges. Yu gets killed by the snot-nosed son of a Yakuza kingpin, and Ami loses her arm trying to get revenge; so of course, she gets a machine gun appendage for her amputated arm and goes on a killing spree to get her gory revenge.
BABYFACES: Ami (Minase Yashiro), is one badass chick. She is so intenet on revenge she even considers herself a "demon" of sorts. Plus her sidekick, Miki (Japanese porn star, Asami), is no slouch, either. SCORE: 7/10
HEELS: Aside from a slew of henchmen, our main trio of baddies is Sho Kimura (Nobuhiro Nishihara), a punk-ass teenager and son of psychotic Yakuza boss, Ryuji Kimura (Kentaro Shimazu); his mother, Violet (Honoka), is one nasty bitch, too. These three are evil incarnate, delighting in ways of making people suffer...and Sho is such a smuck little prick, you just WANT him to get his in the end. SCORE: 8/10
PSYCHOLOGY: Seriously? This is a hack-and-slash flick of the highest order: just shitloads of running around killing fools. It plays out like a video game, with all the bosses at the end. SCORE: 3/10
SPOTS: Where do I start? The way Ami loses her arm is crazy, plus evil henchmen are getting slaughtered in all types of crazy ways; one gets about 15 nails pounded in his face before he decides to finally give up and tell Ami where the Kimura clan are hiding, for example. And then Violet has the crazy drill-bra that is something else. SCORE: 7/10
FINISH: The ending was a little abrupt, but Ami puts her last-minute chainsaw appendage to good use and ensures she gets her ultimate revenge. SCORE: 6/10
BOOBS: There's a couple of moments; ironically, the actual pornstar stays the most covered-up of all the women in this. That's okay, as Ami and Violet share a half-dressed moment to make up for it. BONUS POINTS: 4/10
SCORE: 22.5/50 (45%)
WATCHED: January 9, 2011
This 2009 flick was directed by Uwe Boll, and was filmed in Surrey and Vancouver...and you could totally tell: there's that stand-alone Church's Chicken on King George (I used to always try and eat there when I went to Bridgeview Hall for shows), that's a setup for several important scenes in the movie. They changed the name but you can totally tell which place it is. I got a kick out of that. Regardless, this film revolves around Bill (Comox-born Brendan Fletcher: Freddy vs. Jason, Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed, Ginger Snaps Back), who plays a 20-something guy floating through life: he's got a minimum wage job as a mechanic (and his boss doesn't show him much respect), no girlfriend, one friend (an environmental activist wing-nut played by Shaun Sipos: Melrose Place 2009, Skulls 3, Final Destination 2), and his parents (Linda Boyd and the legendary Matt Frewer) have decided it's time he finally gets off his ass and moves out. Bill is angry, good with welding tools and has way too much time on his hands...so obviously he constructs a bullet-proof suit and goes on a killing spree! The final 45-plus minutes of this movie is pretty much just Bill shooting the piss out of his sleepy little Oregon town, which is totally unprepared for such a psychotic onslaught.
BABYFACES: This movie pretty much revolves around Fletcher's character going on a killing spree, so the babyfaces are weak at best. Most of them have minor roles, and they are collectively pretty annoying people: Bill's parents care more about what people think of them, there's a guy who runs a coffee shop who is a TOTAL jerk, and everyone else is just there to get shot to pieces. SCORE: 2/10
HEELS: The film revolves around Fletcher's character, as we get to see his miserable little life and why he decides it's a good idea to just go nuts and kill everyone in sight. In reality, Fletcher is a "cool heel," which is the worst kind: the director basically wants you to cheer this douchebag who kills everyone, which is a pretty ludicrous concept to get across...in my opinion. But as a psychotic killer, Fletcher is very good. SCORE: 7/10
PSYCHOLOGY: Surprisingly, this movie actually DOES have some psychology to it; it's not like Bill just decided to up and start shooting people. He had a plan from the start: he slowly ordered parts to put together his suit of armor, and totally sets up his environmental nut-job friend as the killer (said friend has a slew of controversial YouTube videos out there, bitching about over-population and how something "radical" needs to be done to solve the world's problems), so that he can get away scot-free at the end...with a boatload of cash in the process. The setup in this story is actually really well done. However, there is part that pisses me off: they spent forever in this coffee-shop, where the barista is a total prick to our "hero" and not only refuses to fix Bill's coffee like he ordered it, but won't even refund his money when he refuses to take the incorrect drink. Later, when Bill kills this jerk, he never reveals himself to the guy, to really drive home the whole scenario...yet he shows his face to a busy beauty salon? Didn't make sense, there. SCORE: 6/10
SPOTS: This movie is loaded with people getting shot, but it's pretty much the same thing...over and over and over again. This film must've spent over half it's budget on squibs alone! Very few of the kills are very creative (the sheriff from the next town over gets gutted pretty good, but that's about it), although there are some neat explosions and there is an interesting/humorous moment when Bill's remote-wired van goes a little haywire on the road before crashing into the police station (as intended) and blowing it to smithereens. But for the most part, the shoot-em-stuff just drags on. SCORE: 4/10
FINISH: As I already said, the build-up to the finish was really good, in that Bill totally sets everything up to get away scot-free. But then the actual ending shows a YouTube video that supposedly surfaces two years after Bill disappears, where not only does he admit to what he did, but he pulls a Frosty The Snowman gimmick and basically says "I'll be back again someday" to kill more people! Seriously? Give me a break. SCORE: 2.5/10
BOOBS: While many movies try to promote sex AND violence, this one forgoes sex altogether; I suppose it would've gotten in the way of the incessant shooting. There is the aforementioned scene in a beauty salon where Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps) plays a beautiful yet bitchy hairdresser...but I think her part of the film got left on the cutting-room floor, as there doesn't seem to be any reason why we someone as "famous" as her was in the movie for only 2-3 minutes. I'm guessing before editing she must've insulted Bill when he asked her out, or something; otherwise, she's got a meaningless cameo despite being the second- or third-biggest "name" actor in this entire picture. BONUS POINTS: 1/10
MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS
SCORE: 19.5/50 (38%)
WATCHED: January 15, 2011
This 2009 monster/disaster film was put out by "The Asylum," an American production company that specializes in low-budget, direct-to-video "mockbusters" that capitalize on the current hits on the silver screen. This one is about an accident in Alaska that unleashes a prehistoric shark and octopus that were locked in mid-battle; they break up and wreak havoc in San Francisco and Tokyo (respectively), before being lured into once again fighting each other to the death to save mankind.
BABYFACES: Our heroine is Deborah Gibson (formerly 80s pop star, Debbie Gibson...who refuses to be called "Debbie" anymore, for some reason), who is one of the world's greatest marine bioligists...but she doesn't play by the rules. When the animals attack, she is teamed up with her old professor (played by Sean Lawlor) and a Japanese scientist (played by Vic Chao), and forced by a sleazy government official (played by Lorenzo Lamas) to save the world. I repeat, DEBBIE GIBSON is playing a brilliant marine bioligist. SCORE: 5/10
HEELS: You've got a prehistoric shark that bites both the Golden Gate bridge and a navy submarine, clean in two; and there's a giant octopus that destroys a Japanese oil rig. And then there's the real monster: the sleazy, despicable Lamas. SCORE: 6.5/10
PSYCHOLOGY: This film doesn't make a lick of sense. The monsters routinely change size in relation to what they are attacking at that given moment, and despite being absolutely monstrous...they somehow can disappear off sonar in an instant. And then there's a scene where Gibson and Chao, despite being under constant military surveillance, find a way to sneak off and do it in a broom closet. Really? SCORE: 2/10
SPOTS: The monsters look good, and the scenes where they're fighting each other are decent for a low-budget flick. But the whole "getting surprised by a monster" bit gets pretty lame when your creatures are supposedly bigger than a football field. SCORE: 3/10
FINISH: The final battle is decent, as previously mentioned, but it is repetitive and it does nothing to actually convince you that either of the creatures is actually dead. Then we get stuck with a cheesy "let's round up for another adventure," as our heroes head off into the sunset. SCORE: 2/10
BOOBS: Debbie Gibson is definitely a hottie, and like I mentioned...sex in a broom closet. But they never show any of the sex, just Gibson and Chao cuddling under a blanket after the fact. RIPOFF! BONUS POINTS: 1/10
SCORE: 15/50 (30%)
WATCHED: February 9, 2011
This 2003 direct-to-video biopic stars Mark Holton as the titular John Wayne Gacy, considered to be the most gruesome serial killer in American history. The movie tries to delve more into Gacy's private life, only briefly touching on the actual murders.
BABYFACES: This film's pretty much devoid of babyfaces. Gacy's wife leaves after finding some homoerotic magazines, his mother's clueless (despite living with him while the killings are happening), and the cops basically get lucky when it comes to finally catching Gacy. SCORE: 1/10
HEELS: Holton does look a lot like Gacy (although Brian Dennehy looked/acted better in 1992's To Catch a Killer), but on more than one occasion the film tries to make excuses for Gacy's disgusting behavior. So his dad was an abusive drunk...that makes it okay to rape and kill young men? Pfft. SCORE: 5/10
PSYCHOLOGY: This film meanders along, and then jumps awkwardly from scene to scene as we get closer to the end. There's no explanation as to why suddenly Gacy goes overboard with booze and drugs, or why he let one of his victims go. Sloppy. SCORE: 3/10
SPOTS: There's some interesting moments where we see the civic-minded Gacy in action, and how beneath every good deed he does there's an ulterior motive (especially when it comes to helping young men) that's ultimately evil. Most of the death scenes are glossed over or used as brief flashback pieces, however. And there's WAYYYYY too many scenes of Gacy just driving around in his car. SCORE: 3/10
FINISH: This movie meanders along, and it looks like Gacy's never going to get caught...even with two undercover cops tailing him night and day. Then things randomly fall apart in the movie and he's busted. Lame. SCORE: 2/10
BOOBS: Since Gacy is a closet homosexual, most of the sexual escapades in this movie involve men, and they are glossed over so as to show pretty much nothing. Gacy's final (failed) victim has a pretty cute girlfriend, but Gacy chases her off pretty quick; and Gacy's mother looks a little like the "Where's The Beef" lady. So if that's your thing...so be it. BONUS POINTS: 1/10